Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier

I struggled somewhat with my thoughts on Captain America 2. On one hand, this is a finely executed comic book action movie. On the other hand, it’s nothing more than a finely executed comic book action movie. This stands as the best Marvel film behind The Avengers with a nice balance of action and character moments. All of the actors do their best with the material and we are given a few more moments of an actual storyline than we are used to with Marvel’s films. I was entertained and completely enjoyed myself during the film. All of that being said, I can’t help but be underwhelmed by the whole affair. The enjoyment I felt during the movie had faded by the time I made it to my car. There was nothing new in the film and all I was left with was a vague sense of sameness. Marvel’s brilliant marketing strategy that has led to this interconnected universe has overtaken any attempt to make a unique film experience. The template is firmly in place and there will be no deviations much less any surprises. What we are left with is a mildly enjoyable two hour teaser for the next Marvel movie.

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Chris Evans returns as Captain America. He is more versed in today’s age and the fish out of water elements so prevalent in The Avengers have faded away. He is joined by Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow as they try to fight back against bad guys, or who they think are bad guys, or who appear to be bad guys and might in fact be good guys. To be honest it’s hard to tell for vast portions of the movie what’s actually going on. I’m not sure that it matters anyway. We come to Marvel films to watch gloriously over the top action sequences and they do not disappoint here. Every action set piece is well staged even if they don’t make a lick of sense. A Nick Fury car chase scene, in particular, is quite well done. Captain America and Black Widow are given a bit more room to flesh out their relationship, which is a welcome diversion, and their interplay is surprisingly good.

Rehashing the plot is kind of pointless seeing as Marvel has rehashed the same story over and over again. Captain America 2 is essentially Thor 2 except where in that film there was Nordic gods and magical battles, here they are replaced with military action and espionage tropes. I’m sounding more and more down on this film as I go on, but I just can’t help myself. If you are a fan of Marvel’s movies you will undoubtedly enjoy the two hours and fifteen minutes you spend in the theater. There is enough here to like that I don’t begrudge anyone enjoying this film. For me though, I’m starting to feel like Marvel is churning out two hour trailers and I’m tiring of the routine. Grade: B-

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